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The Independent Culture
THE LIGHTS may not be up in Oxford Street, but the Christmas cards have started arriving: one, at least, from Lord Biro, with a carol- sheet enclosed. "From the Tories' Xmas party," he writes, "My TV brought to me, One Willy feeling, Two Lilleys wilting, three Kenneths jeering, Four Redwoods sneering, Five Mellors leering, Six Ffions posing, Seven Fayeds giving, Eight Hamiltons taking...". All this in response to requests for new names for the unelectable Conservatives. He suggests the John McBull Party (a devolution for all) or, along with Christopher Whitehouse, the obvious but charming Opposition Party.

Paul Duell suggests the happy Rave (Rarely Adventurous,Vital or Exciting) Party, attracting both youth and age votes. Magzy Higgs likes The New "Labour" Party, The "New" Party or perhaps The Nearly New Party. Sorry, Magzy, but I think you'll find all three have been copyrighted by one P Mandelson for future use. Andrew Duncan had more than mere nominal advice: "Let's replace [Conservative] with some Blair-like cool, With zap yet trad to bring in those who play pool... Stunning, stirring anthem - words by Rice, music by Lord Lloyd Webber - very nice, Give a hint (consult manifesto) of the good time to come, To young Janet, John, Mum, Dad, vicar and nun..." But sorry, Andrew. Do you really think anyone's going to swallow the Humanity Party?

Fiona and John Earle suggest The Innermost Circle "because they have been going round in ever-decreasing circles for years and have got there". John O'Byrne wins a dictionary for "The New Millennium Progressive Conservative Party", whose New Ageyness perfectly illustrates party interests that lag several years behind those of the electorate. Duncan Bull says "Mr Major famously called his euro-sceptic cabinet `colleagues' something rather rude. Now the shadow cabinet consists of EMU-doomsters, Mr Major should be honoured by renaming the Tory party `The Bastards'. Or, to be politically correct, The Right Bastards." A copy of Chambers on its way to you.

Next week: thanks to Bruce Birchall for the following; This is the time of year when evening classes offer exotic prospects like Glassblowing for Beginners or Speak Swahili in Six Weeks. Who signs up for these things, and why? What learning experiences are not catered for in the prospectuses, and who might they suit? Suggestions to Creativity, The Independent, 18th floor, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. The top two, or three, depending on whether anyone has won one for suggesting the week's theme, will win a Chambers dictionary. Results two weeks from today.